Thursday, April 23, 2009
Colorado death-penalty vote
The Colorado House of Representatives has voted -- narrowly -- to repeal the death penalty. According to this story, the person who cast the last and deciding vote, Rep. Ed Vigil, did so on the basis of "moral appeals he had heard, including from Archbishop Charles Chaput, the senior Roman Catholic clergyman in Colorado." If this is true -- that is, if Rep. Vigil voted as he did because he was moved by such appeals -- then should we have any concerns (even if we welcome, as I do, the legislative repeal of capital punishment) about his vote? (No, we should not. But . . . why not?).
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Is Rep. Vigil Catholic?
Moral suasion is one thing. Chaput's job as a bishop is to teach. But if Chaput had said (as he has said about Catholic politicians and abortion) that a legislator who votes to retain the death penalty is "not really Catholic" and should not present himself for communion, that would certainly raise my concerns.
Of course, it depends on the "we" who might be concerned. As a Catholic, I object to the selective, highly political use of the Eucharist as a bludgeon against politicians who aren't in favor of recriminalizing abortion. Whether that should raise the concerns of non-Catholics is a different question. I don't know what stake non-Catholics have in the abuse of ecclesiastical authority by Catholic bishops.
Posted by: don anon | Apr 23, 2009 2:07:34 PM
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